The increase in virtual and blended mobility is a relevant recent development in the internationalization of higher education arena. There are many reasons for this, the two main ones being the Covid-19 pandemic that made physical mobility impossible in 2020 and the fact that the European Commission decided to introduce this concept as one of the main new features of the upcoming new Erasmus+ to be launched at the beginning of 2021. But how is virtual and blended mobility perceived by the practitioners, students and universities? What will be its impact on the internationalization of higher education in the coming years? What are the pros and what the cons? We will discuss this with Rui Branco Lopes from the Coimbra Health School of the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra from the perspective of his hands-on experience with the organization and management of international internships in the field of health education.
Since 2009, Rui Branco Lopes has worked as International Relations Specialist at Coimbra Health School of the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra. In this role, he has been responsible for the management of exchange programmes and international cooperation, with emphasis on the Erasmus+ programme. He’s been actively engaged in international meetings, always eager to extend his network and knowledge within the higher education internationalization sector. He was recently elected to serve the European Association for International Education (EAIE) in 2020-2022 within the European Collaborative Programmes Expert Community.